Avalanche at Alpine Meadows Tahoe, one dead, several missing

Alpine Meadows ski resort

An avalanche hit Alpine Meadows ski resort in Lake Tahoe today, killing one and seriously injuring another. There are reports from Placer Sheriff that more were missing.

Officials with the Placer County Sheriff’s Department first tweeted about the avalanche at 11:20 am on Friday  (6.30am Saturday, Sydney time). saying there are “several unaccounted victims.”

Search and Rescue responded to the scene and have recovered one body and a second person with serious injuries. 

Alpine Meadows released a statement at 12.30pm Tahoe time (7.30am Sydney time).

At approximately 10:16 am today an avalanche was reported in the area between Scott Chute and Promised Land near Scott Chair at Alpine Meadows, within an open area of the resort. A male skier sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 11am. A second male skier sustained severe lower-body injuries and was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol responded immediately to the scene and completed a thorough search of the area with the help of additional resort personnel and members of the public using avalanche transceivers, probes, RECCO Rescue System technology, and avalanche rescue dog teams. Witnesses to the incident saw no other individuals involved, no additional individuals have been reported missing and the search was declared complete at 11:45am.

The entire Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows team, including all of the first responders, extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased. We are working closely with the families of all the affected individuals to ensure their continued care.

Avalanche mitigation work had been performed in the area prior to opening to skiers and riders for the day.

The cause of the avalanche is unknown at this time pending additional investigation.

The region recieved a massive storm on Thursday with over 25 inches (63 centimetres) and strong winds. A Winter Storm Warning and Avalanche Watch was issued by the National Weather Service for the Lake Tahoe area on Thursday.

UPDATED. The skier killed in the avalanche has been identified as 34 year old Cole Comstock from Blairsden, California. 

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.